Before Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s “Fleabag” became a BBC series, an Emmy winner and a gift to gifs and hot priest memes, it was a solo stage show. A tale of a cheeky, devastated, sexually compulsive London woman, written by and starring Waller-Bridge, it played the Edinburgh Fringe in 2013 and returned last spring for Off Broadway and West End runs.
The play reappeared on Friday via London’s Soho Theater and Amazon Prime Video, where a filmed version has been made available as a fund-raiser for health charities and arts support. (It’s $5 to rent.)
Watch the trailer below to see Andrew Scott, the “hot priest” of the TV series, in the gentlest imaginable ZoomBomb.
Though it lacks the TV series’s co-stars and camera asides, the stage production still offers a canny and enjoyably filthy exploration of female interiority — think Virginia Woolf cross-pollinated with Amy Schumer. It celebrates and validates complicated emotions. And it confirms Waller-Bridge as an actress of coruscating variety and charm.
“Fleabag,” in its original 65-minute form, is a slow-burn fuse of a play — bright throughout, then shattering. But it argues (helpfully, maybe) that sometimes the worst possible thing happens, and we pull our sweaters back down and keep going anyway.